Summary: This sermon illustrates how the church should WORK together as a team (using our spiritual gifts) to advance the Kingdom of God.
June 9, 2002
A. [Beauty of Unity, Citation: Mike Royko, One More Time (University of Chicago Press, 1999), pp. 85-87; submitted by Dallas Roark, Emporia, Kansas]
The late columnist Mike Royko writes about a conversation he had with Slats Grobnik, a man who sold Christmas trees.
Slats remembered one couple on the hunt for a Christmas tree.
The guy was skinny with a big Adam’s apple and small chin, and she was kind of pretty.
But both wore clothes from the bottom of the bin of the Salvation Army store.
After finding only trees that were too expensive, they found a Scotch pine that was okay on one side, but pretty bare on the other.
Then they picked up another tree that was not much better—full on one side, scraggly on the other.
She whispered something, and he asked if $3 would be okay.
Slats figured both trees would not be sold, so he agreed.
A few days later Slats was walking down the street and saw a beautiful tree in the couple’s apartment.
It was thick and well rounded.
He knocked on their door and they told him how they worked the two trees close together where the branches were thin.
Then they tied the trunks together.
The branches overlapped and formed a tree so thick you couldn’t see the wire.
Slats described it as "a tiny forest of its own."
"So that’s the secret," Slats asserts.
"You take two trees that aren’t perfect, that have flaws, that might even be homely, that maybe nobody else would want. If you put them together just right, you can come up with something really beautiful."
B. Friends, that is a perfect picture of what the church should be!
1. "You take [lots of people who] aren’t perfect, that have flaws, that might even be homely, that maybe nobody else would want. If you put them together just right, you can come up with something really beautiful."
2. And that "something really beautiful" is the church and I believe that God wants to tell us some things about this today from Acts 9; first…
I. Christ healed Aeneas from paralysis.
Acts 9:32-35, As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34 "Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
A. Peter was on a preaching crusade.
1. Peter was travelling around the country preaching the gospel.
2. Peter had stayed in Jerusalem during the time of the persecution, but now that it had ended, he was going out to visit the believers in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria.
3. Peter went to visit the saints in Lydda.
4. Clearly, Peter wasn’t going to preach to dead people in Lydda.
5. That may sound like an odd statement, but that is what many people consider to be saints.
6. But when the Bible refers to saints it is referring to believers in Jesus Christ.
7. Turn to your neighbor and say, "I am a saint!"
8. Peter went to the city of Lydda to visit with and preach to the saints.
B. There he met a man named Aeneas.
1. We don’t know anything about this man.
2. We just know that he lived in Lydda and his name in English means "praise."
3. Praise had been a paralytic and confined to a bed for the past eight years.
C. But Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you."
1. And immediately Praise got up and walked.
2. Peter told him to get up and roll up his mat because he would no longer need it.
3. And we notice that it is not really Peter who heals Praise, its Jesus.
4. Peter said, "Jesus Christ heals you."
5. All healing comes from Jesus Christ.
6. It may come through a doctor, but it comes from Jesus Christ.
7. It may come through a prayer, but it comes from Jesus Christ.
8. It may come through a person with the gift of healing like Peter, but it comes from Jesus Christ.
9. "Jesus Christ heals you!"
D. And Luke says that all those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
1. People in two cities heard about the healing of Praise.
2. People in two cities were saved as a result of the healing of Praise.
3. When the word of Praise spread, people were saved.
4. Yes, there is a double meaning there.
5. When the word of Praise spread, people were saved.